09/26/2007 11:00PM

Set Play stretches out to route in Oak Leaf

EmailARCADIA, Calif. - Set Play's sharp win in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3 left Peter Miller with a question: How good is this filly, who has never been worse than third in four starts?

He should have a better answer after Saturday's $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

The Grade 1 Oak Leaf will be Set Play's first start at 1 1/16 miles, following her two-length win in the Del Mar Debutante over seven furlongs. If Set Play can win her first start around two turns in the Oak Leaf, she will be one of the favorites in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27.

"She looks like a route horse," Miller said. "We're just guessing until she does it."

Of the 11 2-year-old fillies entered in the Oak Leaf, Set Play is the most accomplished, with earnings of $220,920. Set Play is one of five stakes winners in the lineup, joined by The Golden Noodle (Landaluce Stakes), Golden Doc A (Generous Portion Stakes), Tasha's Miracle (Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes) and P.S.U. Grad (Barretts Debutante Stakes).

P.S.U. Grad was supplemented to Sunday's Norfolk Stakes and may run there against males. Trainer Craig Dollase was not pleased that P.S.U. Grad drew the outside post in the Oak Leaf.

Set Play drew the rail, and Miller hopes she can stalk the pace under jockey Brice Blanc.

"She's got tactical speed and she'll put herself in the race," Miller said. "I'm not really worried. We should be in a good spot. We can't wait.

"We want her to run well and come out of it well. We want to give her some more experience. We want to see how she does going two turns."

Only one filly in the field has experience around two turns, Runforthemoneybaby, the winner of a maiden race over a mile at Del Mar on Sept. 3. Trained by Jeff Mullins, Runforthemoneybaby led throughout that race, winning by a head.

Tasha's Miracle and Cry and Catch Me are trying 1 1/16 miles for the first time. Tasha's Miracle missed the Del Mar Debutante after tying up two days before the race. The gap between starts is not a major issue for trainer John Sadler.

Tasha's Miracle, who has worked fast in recent weeks, won the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs by a convincing 3 1/4 lengths on Aug. 8 in her last start.

Cry and Catch Me won a maiden race over 5 1/2 furlongs by 6 1/4 lengths at Del Mar on Aug. 26, her first start since being acquired privately by Stetson Land and Cattle and trainer Bob Baffert.

The Oak Leaf is her third start and could give Baffert his seventh win in the Oak Leaf.

"She's pretty handy," Baffert said. "She can relax and sit off horses. We'll find out what she is. She looked good breaking her maiden."